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News and updates on DHS efforts that support seniors.

Return to Community recognized by public policy research group

Return to Community, the DHS and Minnesota Board on Aging program to help people return from nursing facilities to their homes, was recognized as one of the finalists in the Pioneer Institute’s 26th annual Better Government Competition at a gala awards dinner June 19 in Boston.

The competition, started in 1991, seeks out and rewards the most innovative public policy proposals.  The grand prize winner receives $10,000 while four finalists receive $1,000 each and other proposals receive special recognition.

“We are honored that Return to Community has received more recognition helping to arrange supports so that more than 4,600 Minnesotans could return home from nursing facility stays or avoid nursing home nursing placement,” said Loren Colman, assistant commissioner for Continuing Care for Older Adults. “This not only helps individuals and their families but the state budget.  Nursing home care is expensive so extended stays can result in people spending down their savings and assets to the point where they need to apply for Medical Assistance.”

Return to Community, started in 2010, helps private pay nursing home residents return to the community early in their stays, typically 60 to 90 days after admission.  Its goals are to:

  • Enhance consumer choice and quality of life
  • Improve individual health and functional outcomes
  • Rebalance resources from nursing homes to the community
  • Employ long-term care resources more efficiently.

It complements other state and federal efforts aimed at helping Medical Assistance recipients and others to exercise their choice to live in the community.

The Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded public policy research organization that states as its purpose “to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.”

Minnesota achieves another high ranking in AARP scorecard for long-term services and supports

Minnesota trades places with No. 1-ranking Washington; both cited as "consistently leading the pack" of states for long-term care. For more information, read the press release online.

Valerie Cooke named director of Nursing Facility Rates and Policy Division

Valerie Cooke, a leader in the Nursing Facility Rates and Policy Division for 25 years, has been named director of the division effective Dec. 5. She replaces Bob Held, who retired Dec. 2. “Val has played a key leadership role on quality initiatives, pay-for-performance systems and program evaluations, both within DHS and as a nationally recognized expert on aligning quality measurement and performance improvement to payment models,” said Loren Colman, assistant commissioner for Continuing Care for Older Adults, who made the appointment. Cooke, who most recently has been manager for quality and research,  said she looks forward to focusing more on strategic thinking within the division as quality measurement becomes increasing linked to payments to nursing homes, both at the state and federal level.

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